The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Jim White
For The Sentinel 

Space station in view for August

“What’s in the sky?”


After the long days of June and July, our last full month of summer brings hints of the shorter days and longer nights to come. During the month, sunrise advances from 5:48 a.m. on Aug. 1 to 6:25 p.m. at the end of the month, while sunset moves from 8:35 p.m. to 7:46 p.m. This amounts to a loss of 1 hour and 26 minutes of daylight this month.

The planets Jupiter and Venus, which brought beautiful views at the beginning of July, have now sunk very close to the western horizon. On Aug. 6, Jupiter will pass close to Mercury, a view possible if you have a very good view of the western horizon.

The planetary star of the month remains Saturn, now in the southwestern sky. Although Saturn is now pulling away from us, it has not decreased in apparent size very much, and is still a nice sight in a telescope. Look for the Moon to join Saturn on Aug. 21 (the Moon will be to the right of Saturn) and Aug. 22 (the Moon will now be to the left of Saturn).

Saturn currently lies in the dim constellation Libra. To the left of Libra is the constellation Scorpius, the scorpion. The body of the scorpion contains the bright star Antares, a red supergiant star. Antares’ radius is more than 800 times that of the Sun. Look for it to the left of, and a bit below, Saturn. From Antares, look for the tail of the scorpion below and to the left, if you have a clear view of the southern horizon.

To the left of Scorpius lies Sagittarius, the archer. Look for the distinctive “teapot” shape low in the southern sky, where the Milky Way meets the horizon. Some imagine the clouds of the Milky Way as “steam” coming from the teapot. The constellation is rich in star clusters and nebulas, so give it a look with a telescope, or even a pair of binoculars.

August will present some excellent opportunities for evening viewing of the International Space Station as it orbits overhead. When the ISS passes over us in the early evening, it is still illuminated by the Sun as it flies 200 miles above us. It will appear as a very bright “star”, moving quickly from west to east. Each orbit is different – sometimes it passes high overhead, other times low near the horizon. Some nice passes, when it will be high in the sky, will be on Aug. 12 at 9:58 p.m., and Aug. 14, at 9:47 p.m. Times are for Trout Lake, and will vary for other areas.

Check out the website Heavens Above, at for the complete list. Enter your location and click on “ISS” listed under “Satellites” to see the list.


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